Scott Israel declares himself the winner over Al Lamberti for Broward County Sheriff.
Cheers erupted at a home in Davie Tuesday night after Scott Israel called himself the new Broward County sheriff over incumbent Al Lamberti.
"I thank my kids, my in-laws, this beautiful lady, I thank my wife, just thank everybody," Israel said.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Israel had 53.31 percent of the vote to Lamberti's 46.69 percent, according to the Broward Supervisor of Elections.
Israel had been defeated in 2008 by Lamberti, a registered Republican who managed to secure a win in the Democratic stronghold of Broward.
Through the race, Lamberti had emphasized partisan politics don't come into play for him when it comes to saving lives.
"I stand for victims, and again, victims aren't Republicans or Democrats, they're people," Lamberti said before the election.
At a party thrown at a friend's home in Davie Tuesday night, Israel, a registered Democrat, essentially called himself the underdog in the race, citing fewer resources than his opponent.
"When you go into a campaign, you go in and you get volunteers, and you get campaign helpers and you get supporters," Israel said. "I had none of that, I had friends, it was just friends who were committed to me and I was committed to them."
Even the victory parties the campaigns planned were markedly different. While about 100 or so of Israel's friends and supporters packed into the backyard of the Davie residence, Lamberti's was at the Signature Grand, where he was introduced with pomp and circumstance preceded by bag pipes and drums.
During his campaign, Lamberti touted his efforts to tackle problems affecting Broward, like decreasing the number of pill mills, and battling identity theft.
After Israel made his victory speech, Lamberti declined requests to speak until all the results came in.
Wednesday morning, he posted a brief message on his Facebook page, thanking his supporters.
"I have spent the last 35 years of my life at the Broward Sheriffs office serving the people of Broward County. It has been my honor and privilege to serve you," Lamberti wrote. "I have witnessed many positive accomplishments and milestones at BSO and I will always be proud of the BSO family."
He went on 850 WFTL to defend his record and his name later.
Lamberti was first appointed sheriff in 2007 before his election win the next year. He told NBC 6 South Florida he's still trying to come to grips with leaving the BSO.
"It’s going to be disturbing, but again, I’ve said before, it’s not the Al Lamberti Sheriff’s Office. It’s the Broward County Sheriff’s Office," he said. "And again, when you give 35 years of your blood, sweat, tears and soul to an agency, to have it ripped out from underneath you, it’s shocking, it really is.”
Minutes after declaring victory Tuesday night, Israel said he was ready to get to work and ready to start carrying out the platform he ran on.
"Reducing crime, enhancing the quality of life, diversifying the work force. And keeping kids out of jail," Israel said.